Front Suspension parts identification / serious problem leaning = '04 SportTrac 175K mi.

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Adam Smith

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I'm a Firefighter, relatively handy, so I'm wondering if this is a job I can do myself. Noticed my truck pulling left a bit, leaning left (see photos). Just looked underneath front suspension, I think this short vertical rod (#13 in diagram) is the "stabilizer end link"(?), and is missing rubber bushings, the plastic sleeve covering the rod itself can slide up and down a bit but the nuts seem tight. I was told by Ford it's a kit, part # 2L2Z5K483A ($23.45), and consists of the bolt, plastic sleeve, and nut, connects the sway bar to lower control arm.

*UPDATE: called local Ford dealer and he looked in box and it's JUST the plastic sleeve and 2 bushings (but I don't think I need new rods/studs and nut s anyway); $35 ea. kit. Definitely pays to call ahead and ask for parts to look in box...

Questions:
1. If I unbolt it, will the wheel drop if it's up on jackstands? or should I leave it with the weight of the vehicle on the ground? Seems like I'd need to leave the weight on the vehicle.
2. Are the rubber bushings easily inserted?
3. This doesn't seem like it will solve the "listing to one side" problem, does it? Maybe needs new shocks?

Awaiting replies.

Thank you!
 

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blert

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Not the cause of your lean but, for sure, you need new ones. Skip Ford and search for Moog front anti-sway bar end links. You will get the whole thing: bolts, washers, sleeve, better poly bushings, and a lower price.
No, the truck won't drop if you remove them. They actually need to be installed with the suspension under load (not jacked up) and on a flat surface.

The lean could be a few things, shocks included, but if everything else is good then it may be that you only need to adjust the torsion bars (simply tightening or loosening a bolt and measuring the distance from fender to top of wheel until they match).
 

Adam Smith

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blert: I'm on the Moog site now, thanks, you caught me on my way out the door to Ford parts. Do you think it's this link, for stabilizer end links , vs. anti-sway bar end links? I looked up on the Moog site, directed me to O'Reilly's, they have two kits, one for $16 ea. w/8.5" bolts, one for $22 with 10.25" bolts (BOTH listed for 2004 trac). I'll have to measure mine.
Now I need to google adjusting the torsion bars. LMK if you have any good referrals for websites or youtube videos.
Thanks!
 

blert

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Yeah, that's them.

Adjusting the torsion bars is cake but can be time consuming. You don't just want to go to town on them. It's best to jack up the front end (no suspension load) so as to not put too much torque on the bolts. Then you drop the truck and measure. Rinse and repeat until it's level. Pretty sure there is a thread in the projects section, if you can't find it then a quick web search will hook you up with instructions and videos.
I feel I have to say be careful not to back the bolt out all the way. Not sure what would happen but I'm sure there is someone on this forum who does and they may pop in at any time.

I would make sure all other suspension bits are in good working order (nothing broken, nothing bent, etc) before adjusting the torsion bars.
 

Adam Smith

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Just got to OReilly’s to get the 10.25”stabilizer bars. Will check suspension parts before trying torsion bar adjustment, lean seems to be getting noticeably worse …
 

blert

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Is this truck new to you or have you had it a while?
If the lean has gotten worse in a very short period of time you could have a major problem. Make sure to do a very thorough inspection. And check the rear while you are at it.
 

blert

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Definitely check the rear also. Busted stuff on the rear will effect what's going on in the front, and vice-versa.
Also, fuel tank is on the left. If your leaf spring on that side is weak it can cause the whole truck to lean to the left. You could swap the leaf springs, left to the right and right to the left to buy them a few more miles.
 

DILLARD000

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Yep, those are the same SwayLinks that fit my 2001 ExST.
LeafSpring on LeftRear is notorious for going flat with age & causing LeftLean
on this era SportTrac\Ranger\Mountaineer\MazdaB\Explorer\...
Assuming it's due to the additional weight of the Driver+GasTank on the left.
 
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Wade J

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Agreed the ‘explorer lean’ tends to happen over time as many other have said because the gas tank and you (the driver) is on that side. New leaf springs would fix it or you can try to swap the driver/passenger leafs you already have. Bushings in your existing leaf spring eyelets my also be bad/wore out also check the back side of the leaf spring where the leaf spring shackle is attached at the frame, there is a bushing inside the frame that could be wore out. Probably take a look at the body mount bushings as well (where the cab is mounted to frame) Ford used a foam/rubber that breaks down over time.
 

Adam Smith

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Yeah, that's them.

Adjusting the torsion bars is cake but can be time consuming. You don't just want to go to town on them. It's best to jack up the front end (no suspension load) so as to not put too much torque on the bolts. Then you drop the truck and measure. Rinse and repeat until it's level. Pretty sure there is a thread in the projects section, if you can't find it then a quick web search will hook you up with instructions and videos.
I feel I have to say be careful not to back the bolt out all the way. Not sure what would happen but I'm sure there is someone on this forum who does and they may pop in at any time.

I would make sure all other suspension bits are in good working order (nothing broken, nothing bent, etc) before adjusting the torsion bars.
Looked through the titles of the 27 pages of Projects (couldn't figure out how to Search in Projects) but didn't see any jobs for adjusting torsion bars. So far no decent YouTube videos, all I find are for other vehicles, and terrible quality. LMK if you have any suggestions.
Definitely check the rear also. Busted stuff on the rear will effect what's going on in the front, and vice-versa.
Also, fuel tank is on the left. If your leaf spring on that side is weak it can cause the whole truck to lean to the left. You could swap the leaf springs, left to the right and right to the left to buy them a few more miles.
I'd like to try swapping left / right leaf springs. Big job? I replaced the front stabilizer end links; $47 at O'Reilly's. Had to get creative with jack, jackstand, blocks of wood, etc. to hold the nut in place from underneath and then get the rubber to compress enough to get the nut on the top of the bolt. Torsion settings look comparable, still searching for cause of lean. Maybe leaf springs, but it's more pronounced in front.
 

blert

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... Had to get creative with jack, jackstand, blocks of wood, etc. to hold the nut in place from underneath and then get the rubber to compress enough to get the nut on the top of the bolt. ...
Not sure why you had to do that. The truck should be on the ground when you install the end links. With both endlinks off you can move the swaybar ends up and down to help align them. If the links were long enough they should have just slid right on in and bolted up easily with no fuss. Is you truck lifted?
 

Adam Smith

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I removed just one side first, so I couldn't angle the swaybar low enough untiI I put the jack under the bolt for the endlink and raised it up so the threads went through the swaybar enough to place the rubber bushings / washer / nut on. I did use some grease, but still notice some squeak. Feels way better though driving slowly around curves, going over speed bumps.
 

Adam Smith

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Update: the shop put my Trac on the lift to inspect for possible cause of listing to left, nothing obvious found. They did say (and I've read this elsewhere) that the weight of the gas tank and driver tend to wear out the left side leaf springs. Will look for directions on swapping the right to left side.
 
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